Lauren Watson pictured in black and white, performing an aerial routine with her wheelchair.

2019 Access Arts Achievement Award Winner Announced

We are delighted to announce that Gold Coast artist, Lauren Watson has been named as the winner of the 2019 $10,000 Access Arts Achievement Award. Lauren is a talented aerial performer and was chosen by a judging panel of industry professionals to fund her upcoming stage performance, Nerve.

Lauren will use the $10,000 grant to produce her show Nerve which dives into the complicated nature of being a woman and an artist with disability.

“When they told me I’d never walk again, I was determined to prove people wrong,” Lauren said.

“I started aerial performance as a form of physical therapy following my accident and the arts have helped me communicate the struggles of being a woman with disability.

“Not only can I defy gravity with aerial performances but my show Nerve will challenge society’s expectations of people with disability, and start a conversation about how we can all advocate for artists with disability in Australia,” she added.

Now in its sixth year, Access Arts’ Arts Manager Tim Brown said the Award has kick-started the careers of the recipients.

“We’re so excited Lauren is this year’s winner. Her story is inspiring but her talent is unmatched in the industry,” Mr Brown said.

“She’s one to watch and we encourage all Gold Coast locals to keep an eye out for her performances in 2020,” he added.

Applications for the Access Arts Achievement Award were highly competitive in 2019, and two special mentions were awarded by the judging panel.


The Access Arts Achievement Award is sponsored by CPL – Choice, Passion, Life, one of Queensland’s leading disability service providers. CPL CEO, Rhys Kennedy said it was vital to support people with disability pursuing careers in the arts.

“We know that over 60 per cent of Australians with disability participate in the arts and many create avenues for economic independence by forging a career in the arts,” Mr Kennedy said.

“CPL chose to continue the Access Arts Achievement Award so Queenslanders with disability can have more opportunity to forge successful and rewarding careers in the arts,” he added.

Congratulations to Lauren, Madeleine, Felicity and all of the talented artists who applied for the Access Arts Achievement Award in 2019. We can’t wait to see what you create in 2020!